Robert Kuttner

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University's Heller School, and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama's Challenge and other books.

Recent Articles

Comment: The Unconvincing Case for War

R ecently, the Prospect sponsored a debate on Iraq. Interestingly, both teams were ostensibly liberal Democrats. Arguing for a U.S. invasion were Jonathan Chait, a Prospect alumnus and author of a recent New Republic cover piece on the liberal case for war, and Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst, National Security Council staffer under Clinton and author of The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq . Opposing invasion were Bill Galston, a former Clinton and Gore adviser and a leading theorist of the Democratic Leadership Council (which this page often criticizes), and Ben Barber, author of the best-selling Jihad vs. McWorld . Both Barber and Galston have written cover pieces for this magazine opposing the Bush policy on Iraq. Pollack is as good as the hawks have. His core argument is that Saddam Hussein will acquire nuclear weapons and will not hesitate to use them, either for blackmail or in actual warfare. Therefore, it logically follows that we should have the war sooner...

The Rich-Poor Gap in Decent Preschools

T he well-named Jack Grubman, a onetime superstar stock analyst at Citicorp, first got into big trouble when it came out that he apparently shaded his stock picks in order to curry favor with Citicorp's corporate clients. Last week it emerged that Grubman also bragged in an e-mail that he had upgraded his rating of sagging AT&T stock to do his boss a favor, so that the boss, Citicorp chairman Sandy Weill, would use his influence to help Grubman get his twins into a prestigious nursery school. (AT&T's chairman served on Citicorp's board, and was a Citicorp client.) The Grubman kids did get admitted, but Grubman insists the e-mail was just an empty boast. What makes the Manhattan school in question, the preschool of the 92nd street Y, so special? It has a terrific record at graduating its tots into elite private grammar schools, which in turn feed prestigious prep schools and then, of course, the Ivy League. But what about the rest of America? Though this story is a titillating...

Comment: Outward Bound

T he last time the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency for a full two-year term was 48 years ago, in the years 1953-54. Dwight Eisenhower was president. Ike, however, was a bipartisan sort of Republican who worked closely with Democrats in Congress. Among other un-Republican achievements, he gave us the Warren Supreme Court. If the Republicans take Congress, George W. Bush will make far more partisan use of his majority. As we go to press, Democratic control of the House looks increasingly unlikely, and the Senate is balanced on the razor's edge. The net loss of a single Senate seat would leave both houses once again controlled by Republicans -- with the Supreme Court poised to become even more Republican than it already is. This page has often been critical of how the Democrats have played their opposition role. Recently, to compete with President Bush's "economic summit" in Waco, Texas, the Democrats held their own economic session in Washington. The...

Comment: Spot the Spoiler

B emoaning the failure of the Democratic Party to lead has become a newsroom sport. In The New Republic 's version, the Dems have squandered their Roosevelt-Truman-Kennan foreign-policy heritage by wimping out on Iraq. In New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's rendition, "The problem with the Democrats is not that they are being drowned out by Iraq. The problem is that the Democrats have nothing to say on all the issues besides Iraq." Here at The American Prospect , we applaud the qualms expressed by some leading Democrats about Bush's Iraq misadventure, which recall the brave and prescient Vietnam dissents of Sens. Fulbright, Morse and Gruening. If some Democrats are afflicted with "Vietnam syndrome" -- defined as taking political risks to warn against ill-conceived wars -- they should wear that affliction as a badge. But the Democrats' befuddlement on domestic issues is another story. Since FDR, Democrats have won office mainly as lunch-bucket liberals. In the era of mass...

Nader: Influence for Good or Ill?

Nader: Influence for Good or Ill? Part II: Kuttner rebuts Chait's review. Dear Jon, We invited you to review for the Prospect Justin Martin's recent biography of Ralph Nader and Nader's own memoir of the 2000 campaign. We didn't learn much about these books from your diatribe, but we did learn a lot about what Jon Chait thinks of Nader: His campaign appearances in 2000, you wrote, were "larded with dissembling, prevarication and demagoguery . . ." (compared to Bush? Gore? ) His disillusion with Democrats reflects "ideological absolutism," "egotism," and "stratospheric self-regard," rather than a principled challenge to a party lurching to the right. And, most astonishingly, you write that the ideological mobilization of organized business in the 1970s and 1980s occurred "largely in response to Nader and his movement." In other worse, the dominance of corporate power in American politics in our own era which so appalls Nader is actually Nader's own fault. Much of your screed is...

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